hai2015 Speakers




MARC BEKOFF PhD is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a former Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior, in 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners as part of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, and in 2009 he was presented with the Saint Francis of Assisi Award by the Auckland (New Zealand) SPCA. Marc has published more than 1000 scientific and popular essays and twenty-six books including The Ten Trusts (with Jane Goodall), The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (with Jessica Pierce). The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint, Ignoring Nature No More: The Case For Compassionate Conservation, Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation, and Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence. He writes regular columns for Psychology Today. Visit Marc's website >

ERICA ELVOVE is the Program Coordinator of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection. Erica specialized in Animal-Assisted Social Work and Leadership for Community and Organizational Practice while earning her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, where she is now an Adjunct Faculty member focusing on human-animal interactions and the promotion of social justice through a human-animal-environmental connection lens.Erica has coordinated, developed and taught in the Animals and Human Health Certificate program since 2008, providing innovative educational opportunities in the human-animal interaction field for practitioners around the globe. She specializes in program development and event planning engaging streamlined administration and leadership development.

TRACIE FAA-THOMPSON, MA, AASW, PGdipNDPT, holds master's degrees in both social work and criminology, and a post-master's diploma and credential in play therapy. She is a specialist social worker in the adoption field, and also a social work and play therapy supervisor in rural Northumberland in the UK. She uses play therapy, filial/family therapy, and group interventions in her work. Her Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) program, Turn About Pegasus, operates year-round and serves children, youth, and families with a wide range of personal and life challenges in both clinical and school settings. Her first career was working with young horses, and she often was their first rider. She uses a relationship and partnership approach to working with horses, and is a long-time member of the Classical Riding Club, EAGALA, and chair of her local Riding for the Disabled for nearly 30 years. Tracie has coauthored numerous chapters and articles on AAPT and teaches seminars and workshops in the U.S. and the U.K. on the ethical, effective, and playful inclusion of horses in therapeutic and educational programs.

BRINDA JEGATHEESAN PhD is Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research is interdisciplinary and has a biocentric approach to the scientific inquiry of child development. Her scholarship has primarily addressed young children’s development of moral reasoning and empathy related response through humane education and animal-assisted interventions, with an eye towards educating children to critically think about captive animals in the entertainment and the zoo industries, voicing their concerns and proposing solutions from a moral, animal well-being, educational and conservation perspective. She works with children in the US, India, Japan and Singapore. She is Vice President Development for the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO) and serves on the Board for the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), and the Editorial Board for the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation (HABRI). She is a Fellow at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver. She is also the Chair of the ‘IAHAIO Animal Assisted Intervention Definitions & Guidelines for Animal Welfare Development’ Global Task Force. Born in Singapore and raised in both Singapore and India, she is widely travelled and is multilingual in 6 languages.

YONI YEHUDA PhD, MEd is a psychologist specializing in animal assisted psychotherapy and education. He is EAGALA certified as a mentor and is a certified medical clown. He is a pioneer and leader in the field of animal assisted therapy in Israel and around the world. He is a specialist in raising and imprinting animals for animal assisted therapy and utilizes the Therapy Triangles model of psychotherapy with animals. He is the head of the school of animal interactions and therapeutic interventions, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is the founder of the Magid Institute and director of the “Havayot” Center for animal assisted therapy and therapeutic riding, "Havayot" Center is the home for over 1000 animals who are partners in therapy. Dr. Yehuda lectures at colleges and universities in Israel and abroad and learned from personal experience the value of animal assisted therapy. He was injured in 1987 when his parachute tore during his IDF service and was among the first of the handicapped IDF soldiers for whom therapeutic riding was integrated into their rehabilitation process.

MICHAEL KAUFMANN is the Farm & Wildlife Director at Green Chimneys and the Director of The Sam and Myra Ross Institute at Green Chimneys, dedicated to research on the human connection to animals and the natural world. He served the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Humane Association (AHA) as a key program director in animal-assisted activities/therapy, humane education and animal welfare. He has contributed to defining publications in the field and has served on numerous national boards and committees. He has lectured internationally on humane education, animal-assisted activities as well as how the link between child abuse and animal cruelty offers opportunity for collaboration between various helping professions.

MIYAKO KINOSHITA is a Farm Education Program Manager at Green Chimneys. She is a Certified Advanced level Therapeutic riding instructor of NARHA, and a graduate student in Education. Miyako specializes in prevention, early detection, and intervention of emotional and behavioral crisis in AAA setting, and has done many workshops and lectures within the United States and in Japan. She was a past committee member for the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) and serves on the board of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH). Having lead Green Chimneys equine programs for many years, she now focuses her work on integration of the farm programs into the educational, clinical and residential programs and also supervises the international intern program.

SAMUEL ROSS Jr., PhD is the founder of Green Chimneys School and Green Chimneys Children’s Services, a non-profit organization that restores possibilities and creates futures for children with emotional, behavioral, social and learning challenges. Under Dr. Ross’s leadership, Green Chimneys received international recognition and acclaim for the utilization of animal-assisted activities/assisted therapy, equestrian therapy and horticultural therapy in addition to many exciting and innovative programs for children and adults. He has served on the board of Paul Newman’s The Hole in the Wall Gang Fund, is an advisor to The Double H-Hole in the Woods Ranch in New York and helped start The Jordan River Village, a year-round camp in Israel. 

PHILIP TEDESCHI MSSW, LCSW is a clinical professor and an Animal-Assisted Social Work and Experiential Therapy Specialist and co-founder of the Institute for Human –Animal Connection programs at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Tedeschi is the Clinical Director of The Institute for Human-Animal Connection and coordinates the school's Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate program for Master of Social Work students, as well as the Animals and Human Health online professional development certificate program. He also teaches MSW courses with emphasis on conservation and environmental social work in areas such as East Africa, the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings and is a certified Master Therapeutic Riding Instructor and instructor with Outward Bound. Some of Philip’s best friends are animals.

RISË VANFLEET PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant. She is the founder and President of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, an independent practice and professional training center in Boiling Springs, PA. She also directs its Playful Pooch Program where she is heavily involved in the emerging field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT). Through the International Institute for AAPT Studies, she trains, supervises, and provides specialist certification for professionals interested in AAPT. Dr. VanFleet brings over 40 years of mental health and education experience and enthusiasm to her presentations. She is a past Board Chair of the Association for Play Therapy and has trained thousands of practitioners worldwide. Her teaching and writing have been recognized, and she is the author of dozens of professional books, manuals, chapters, and DVDs., Risë is also a relationship-based dog trainer/behavior consultant, and her book The Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results was rated as one of the top four dog training books in 2013 (DWAA). www.risevanfleet.com.

ROSWITHA ZINK, Mag. directs the Center for Equotherapie at the Otto Wagner Hospital in Vienna, Austria where she treats traumatized and terminally ill children and youth through equine assisted activities and therapy. She has degrees in biology, psychology, special education and together with Prof. Stephenson of the Sigmund Freud University, leads the study group for nonverbal interaction between people and horses. She has further training and holds certifications as a therapeutic riding instructor, vaulting instructor, driving instructor, is a centred riding instructor, outdoor adventure leader, and is in the process of an advanced degree in psychotherapy. She has a strong passion for dialogue and exchange with other people as well as with animals and focuses on scientifically grounded training and socialization of 18 horses participating in her therapeutic program. She believes it is critical for the horse handler to have a high degree of self-awareness, particularly regarding subconscious emotions that may be transmitted to the horse. When treated with respect and approached as feeling and thinking beings, there is a lot to discover through purposeful contact with equines.

ADAM CLARK, MSW, AASW currently serves as a Clinical Counselor with the Argus Institute at the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. As a clinical counselor with Argus, Adam specializes in supporting pet owners who face challenges surrounding their pets’ health through emotional support, advocacy, grief counseling and holding events honoring the human-animal bond. He has made it a professional goal to reduce the social stigma surrounding pet loss and bereavement through advocacy, education, and promoting research. Adam recently graduated with his Master of Social Work from the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, where he specialized in Animal Assisted Social Work.

MARIE-JOSÈ ENDERS-SLEGERS Ph.D. is, since 2013, a professor in Anthrozoology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Open University in Heerlen, the Netherlands. Her research topics are the development of the human-animal bond; the effects of animal assisted interventions on individuals with autism, post traumatic stress disorders, dementia and psychiatric problems, in green care , as well as the relation between animal abuse and domestic violence. Marie-Jose is Vice President of IAHAIO, founder and Board member of the “Circle of Violence," a ‘Linksgroup’ in the Netherlands, has served for many years at the Board of ISAZ, at the Board of American Humane, was founder (30 years ago) of the first animal shelter in her region, was President of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals.

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